Congress suspends leader for ink assault on minister

The assault was planned by a Raipur-based Congress leader Pappu Farishta, police said after initial investigations. "Congress leader Pappu Farishta had hired a group of unemployed youths with an advance payment of Rs.5,000 to throw ink at the minister," a police officer told IANS.

The Congress Tuesday faced a major embarrassment in Chhattisgarh, where it has been out of power since December 2003, when about 20-22 youths accosted the minister at Gandhi Bhavan, the Congress's state headquarters in Raipur, shouting slogans of "Sonia Gandhi zindabad", "Rahul Gandhi zindabad" and poured a bottle of black ink on him.

Some Congress members managed to catch four of the attackers, and handed them over to the police. Later, three more youths were arrested. The police are trying to arrest Farishta for the attack conspiracy, but he is reportedly on the run.

"The police had failed to provide security to Narayanasamy the day the unfortunate incident took place. But they seem to have done a fantastic job in probing into the matter. They have cracked the case convincingly and we have suspended Farishta for a period of six years," Ishwarchand Dhariwal, Raipur city unit Congress chief, told reporters.
Dhariwal said he has recommended that the state party unit impose a lifetime ban on Farishta, "considering the act that Farishta masterminded".

Party sources say Farishta has been suspended from the party for the third time. He was taken back in the party only in February this year. He is known as a long-time associate of former union minister and Congress tribal leader Arvind Netam.

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